Falcons wind up amazing season

Ethan Nicholas heads downfield with Vikings in pursuit during the CIF San Diego Division III Championship Game. (photo by Justin Fine)

Falcons wind up amazing season

The 2019 season for the Scripps Ranch High (SRHS) varsity football team was historic. The team was undefeated in all 10 of its regular season games and won its first two CIF San Diego Division III playoff games before losing to La Jolla High 10-17 in the hard-fought championship game Nov. 30.

While SRHS defeated La Jolla 17-7 earlier in the season, the Vikings brought a much-improved team featuring tough defense in the championship game. The contest was close, but the Falcons could not generate enough scoring to top the Vikings.

Still, Scripps Ranch players provided an amazing season for the entire community. The Falcons football team had never been undefeated in an entire regular season before. The best previous record was 8-4. SRHS won its league. The last time the team won a league title was 1994. This is the first time the SRHS football team has been to a CIF championship game.

Falcons Head Coach Marlon Gardinera described how proud he was of the team, emphasizing the team’s high academic achievements, as he always does. He was asked to mention some of his individual players:

He started with senior Mehki Shaw, a team captain, second-year starter playing receiver and cornerback, and a 4.0 student. Shaw was named All-City League Defensive Player of the Year.

“He’s a phenomenal young man. He is the most talented, most dedicated, most humble football player I have ever coached,” Gardinera said. “He’s just an amazing young man. He’s a pillar on this team.”

Nicholas Gardinera, Marlon’s son, was named All-City League Offensive Player of the Year. He was rated the number 4 running back in the county before the championship game for rushing yards, accumulating 1,693 rushing yards, 24 rushing TDs, 8 TDs in two playoff games and 2 receiving TDs. He has a 4.20 GPA.

The coach said quarterback Luke Durkin was critical in making split second decisions on run-pass options. His GPA is 4.42.

“Hard working. Incredible leadership skills. Game management,” Gardinera said in describing Durkin. “He reads the field and gives us the better option.”

Josh Boamah is a 6-3, 240-pound defensive lineman who runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds.

“He’s one of the strongest kids on the team, one of the most athletic kids on the team. He probably will have a choice of 25 colleges to choose from in terms of scholarships,” Gardinera said.

Incredibly, Boamah didn’t play football until this year. He played tuba in the band.

Kicker Matt Killam was named All-City League Special Team Player of the Year. He has a 4.42 GPA and is expected to get a scholarship.

Gardinera also highlighted tight end Mikey McGibney, who he described as a Division I-type college player.

“He is the lynchpin to our offense,” Gardinera said. “He makes every critical block necessary for us to have the run game that we do.”

A swarm of Falcons defenders descend upon a La Jolla player. (photo by Justin Fine)
Riley Merrigan turns the corner against La Jolla. (photo by Justin Fine)
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